Tidbits from Sky practice: Astou Ndour joins Spain’s national team for EuroBasket

Astour Ndour left the Sky to join Spain’s national team ahead of EuroBasket tournament.

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Astour Ndour left the Sky to join Spain’s national team ahead of EuroBasket tournament.

Chicago Sky

Shortly after the Sky won their home opener against the Storm on Saturday, Spanish-Senegalese center Astou Ndour boarded a plane. Her next stop was Spain.

Ndour arrived Monday at a hotel in Zaragoza, Spain, to join her native country’s national women’s team.

Ndour is expected to miss several weeks as Spain prepares for the EuroBasket tournament.

Coach James Wade believes Ndour is the only Sky player who will participate in the event, which runs June 27 to July 7.

In two games with the Sky this season, Ndour is 4-for-4 from the field in 13 minutes. She’s averaging 4.5 points per game.

“We’re going to miss her length and her athleticism,” Wade said Tuesday after practice. “We’re just going to miss her and who she is. She gives us all those dimensions. She gives us another player with experience. She played well the last game before she left. So we’re going to miss her.”

With Ndour gone, the Sky have the salary-cap flexibility to sign another player. However, Wade would prefer a boost from within rather than scouring the wire.

“Right now, we’re just going to see what we can do as far as developing the players that we have, and if we need someone, we’ll probably call on someone,” Wade said. “But right now, it’s not something we’re really worrying about.”

If that time comes, the Sky could turn to forward Victoria Macaulay to fill Ndour’s void.

The Sky waived Macaulay three days before the season opener last month. She was praised for her preparedness at training camp and impressed Wade’s staff with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting in the second preseason game.

Faulkner returns to practice

Point guard Jamierra Faulkner took the next step in her recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. She participated in several drills in practice and ran plays against the practice team.

Wade said he expects her to be back in July.

“She can’t do all the practices,” he said. “We have her going up and down, but you can see that she’s limited. So she’s not ready to play any time soon.”

Rookies sit

Wade didn’t play rookies Katie Lou Samuelson and Chloe Jackson against the Storm. He stood by his decision, saying they can learn from watching experienced players.

Don’t expect them to be benched often. Wade said he plans to play Samuelson on Wednesday against the Mystics.

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